Instead of undoing reckless policies that have allowed dangerous mentally ill people to roam free, President Obama is using the bloody Newtown massacre to target Americans’ fundamental right to self-defense.
Determined not to let the senseless murder of at least 20 young schoolchildren and six adults by a madman last Friday in Connecticut go to waste, the nation’s Demagogue-in-Chief is taking aim at the Second Amendment by urging a reinstatement of the useless federal Assault Weapons Ban.
The Assault Weapons Ban, enacted during the Clinton era, prohibited civilian use of specific semi-automatic firearms that politicians arbitrarily deemed “assault weapons” for superficial reasons largely unrelated to how they operate. As Daniel Greenfield wisely put it, an assault rifle “is some sort of mysterious weapon forged in the fires of hell solely for the purpose of murdering people.” The ban, which had no measurable impact on crime, expired in 2004 and attempts to revive the nebulous law have failed so far.
The rifle that the reportedly mentally ill perpetrator, Adam Lanza, primarily relied on was a .223-caliber Bushmaster M4 carbine, which was apparently allowed under the federal ban and under Connecticut’s own assault weapon ban.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in addition to banning assault weapons Obama supports a proposal to close the misleadingly named “gun show loophole,” which allows people to conduct private secondary-market gun transactions without submitting to background checks. Crime expert John Lott, author of the groundbreaking book, “More Guns, Less Crime,” told radio host Mark Levin last night that such private trades are almost nonexistent, amounting to just seven-tenths of one percent of all gun transactions nationwide.
Obama is “interested in looking at” restricting high-capacity ammunition clips, Carney said, along with social and mental health issues associated with gun-related violence.
Of course sharp-witted cynics might reply that left-wingers consider any desire to own a gun to be prima facie proof of mental illness.
Leftists across the fruited plain have gone apoplectic in light of last week’s multiple murders. TV talking heads Piers Morgan, Soledad O’Brien, and Martin Bashir have been particularly obnoxious, cutting off and shouting down guests who defend Second Amendment rights.
In recent days any principled defense of the Second Amendment has raised howls of indignation from affective, sheltered so-called progressives who wouldn’t know the difference between a Glock and a glockenspiel. Even more than usual, reasonable debate is not possible with leftists who mere days ago were cheering labor union violence aimed at preventing Michigan from becoming a “right to work” state.
Those on the Left seem completely unaware that, with the backing of groups like the ever-litigious American Civil Liberties Union screaming about the so-called rights of disturbed individuals, they helped to lay the foundation for future waves of mass shootings in America.
As Clayton Cramer writes, mass murders had been relatively rare in the United States until the 1980s. Although it was “fashionable to blame gun availability for this dramatic increase … guns did not become more available” before multiple-victim shootings started to become increasingly common.
“At least half of these mass murderers (as well as many other murderers) have histories of mental illness,” says Cramer.
“Many have already come to the attention of the criminal justice or mental health systems before they become headlines. In the early 1980s, there were about two million chronically mentally ill people in the United States, with 93 percent living outside mental hospitals. The largest diagnosis for the chronically mentally ill is schizophrenia, which afflicts about 1 percent of the population, or about 1.5 percent of adult Americans.”
But in the late 1950s, egged on by newfangled theories, the nation began deinstitutionalizing psychiatric patients, moving them from long-term wards in state mental hospitals to community-based mental health facilities. Often patients refused to take prescribed medications and became homeless.
Back in the 1960s the strange behavior reportedly exhibited by Lanza probably would have warranted an involuntary stay at a mental hospital. But after deinstitutionalization, such psychiatric patients were left at liberty, fending for themselves in society, until they killed someone, Cramer writes.
“There is a clear statistical relationship between deinstitutionalization and murder rates,” he writes. “Violent crime rates rose dramatically in the 1960s, most worrisomely in the murder rate.”
But even if Americans didn’t live in an era of “deinstitutionalization” today, Lanza probably would have been able to pull off his killing spree.
If a new report from Fox News is accurate, a critical social safeguard that might have protected society from the shooter failed. Lanza “may have snapped because his mother was planning to commit him to a psychiatric facility,” according to Fox.
Adam Lanza, 20, targeted Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown after killing his mother early Friday because he believed she loved the school “more than she loved him,” said Joshua Flashman, 25, who grew up not far from where the shooting took place. Flashman, a U.S. Marine, is the son of a pastor at an area church where many of the victims’ families worship.
“From what I’ve been told, Adam was aware of her petitioning the court for conservatorship and (her) plans to have him committed,” Flashman told FoxNews.com.
“Adam was apparently very upset about this. He thought she just wanted to send him away. From what I understand, he was really, really angry. I think this could have been it, what set him off.”
A senior law enforcement official involved in the investigation confirmed that Lanza’s anger at his mother over plans for “his future mental health treatment” is being looked at as a possible motive for the deadly shooting.
If Lanza’s mother was indeed trying to do the right thing by getting her son psychiatric help, her efforts failed when he shot her to death. Presumably no one and no law could have stopped Lanza before he opened fire at the schoolhouse.
Meanwhile, some left-wingers are now claiming that President Obama is a friend of the Second Amendment and that all he wants to do is to impose some supposedly reasonable restrictions in order to save lives.
Don’t believe it.
Let’s recap what Obama actually believes, as opposed to his official actions as president.
Obama has a well-documented history of anti-gun fanaticism.
During his time teaching at the University of Chicago, he told then-colleague John Lott point-blank: “I don’t believe people should be able to own guns.”
As a candidate for the Illinois State Senate in 1996, Obama promised to ban “the manufacture, sale & possession of handguns.”
While running for the U.S. Senate in 2004, Obama spoke in favor of heavy-handed (and no doubt unconstitutional) federal legislation to block citizens nationwide from receiving concealed-carry permits. “National legislation will prevent other states’ flawed concealed-weapons laws from threatening the safety of Illinois residents,” he said.
Obama supported the District of Columbia’s draconian near-total ban on handgun ownership that was struck down in the Supreme Court’s landmark 2008 ruling in D.C. v. Heller.
On the presidential campaign trail Obama all but labeled gun owners as crazies. He revealed his contempt toward average gun-owning Americans, infamously describing small-town Pennsylvanians as people who bitterly cling to their guns and religion.
As Obama’s defenders delight in pointing out, gun policy has become less restrictive at the national level during his administration, albeit ever so slightly. Obama signed legislation allowing guns to be stowed in luggage on Amtrak trains and to be carried concealed on some federal parkland.
Of course this doesn’t prove Obama in his heart supports the Second Amendment. Rather, it shows that even statist demagogues can have the good sense to pick their battles carefully in a country with a long, proud history of firearms ownership dating back hundreds of years.
But with Obama now safely ensconced in the White House for another four years, there is no reason for him to hold back.
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